No one wants to be contacted by a debt collection agency. If you’re in this situation, it’s important to know your rights and the actions and claims these entities are and are not capable of. Unfortunately, debt collection agencies have a long history of engaging in harassment and illegal practices. Being able to identify unlawful debt collection practices can help protect you from being treated unfairly.When a debt collector calls, it’s important to know your rights and how you may protect yourself. Contact McCarthy Law today to learn more.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that outlines the protections of consumers. Third-party debt collectors must abide by the rules in the FDCPA when communicating with you. If you have debts you are struggling to repay, it can be helpful to meet with a debt settlement attorney who can provide essential guidance on the best payment method for your situation. Here are some of the most common illegal practices debt collectors participate in.
Attempting to Collect a Debt That Is Not Owed
Most commonly, debt collectors will attempt to collect a debt that is not owed after identity theft occurs. The best way to combat identity theft is to keep an eye on your credit report. If a debt collection agency contacts you about a debt that you do not owe, you can request verification of the debt and ask that the debt collector no longer contact you.
Failing to Provide a Written Notification of Your Debt
After a debt collector contacts you, they must send you a written notice of your debt within five days. The notice must include the amount of debt you owe along with the name of the creditor to whom the money is owed and a statement describing your rights to dispute the debt. If a debt collection agency doesn’t send you a written notice, you can file a complaint with the FTC.
Under the FDCPA, debt collection agencies are not allowed to continually harass you. While the law does not give a specific number of calls debt collectors are allowed to make, it does clearly say that they are not allowed to harass or threaten you. If a debt collector uses abusive language, you can file a complaint with the FTC. Additionally, collectors are not allowed to call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
Making Legal Threats Without Authority
The FDCPA makes it illegal for debt collectors to threaten you with a lawsuit, wage garnishment, or jail time unless they have the legal authority to do so. Some illegal threats debt collectors may make while communicating with you include:
- Threats that your credit score and history will be damaged
- Threats to pursue legal action on an old debt
- Threats to arrest you if you don’t pay their debt
- Attempts to unlawfully seize property
- Attempts to collect on exempt funds, such as unemployment benefits or child support
In almost all cases, collectors must take you to court and win before they can pursue any of the actions outlined above. However, even with legal authority to pursue your debt, they cannot harass you or use threatening language.
Contact a Skilled Debt Settlement Attorney
No one deserves to be the victim of harassment and threats by a debt collector. If you are struggling to pay off your debts and are being continuously contacted by debt collectors, you should contact a skilled debt settlement attorney.
At McCarthy Law, we understand the overwhelming burden that debt can have on people’s lives and are committed to helping clients end the cycle of debt. Our team is dedicated to helping our clients navigate their financial circumstances and reach a favorable outcome. To schedule a consultation with one of our skilled debt settlement attorneys, call (855) 976-5777 or fill out our online contact form.